This Life-Size Candy Land Is the Stuff of Christmas Miracles

Image Source: Lake Metroparks
Image Source: Lake Metroparks

If you’re still waiting for an answer to that Santa letter from thirty years ago, the big guy may have finally heard your wish.

Just in time for the holidays, Lake Metroparks of Kirtland, Ohio, has created a life-size Candy Land with a “natural twist.” The Penitentiary Glen Nature Center’s Wild Days of Winter game, based on the iconic board game, is free and open to the public. This larger-than-life Candy Land will be closed on major holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve, with regular visiting hours from noon to 5 PM, November 21 through January 3, 2016.

Here’s how it works: In-line with the Candy Land theme, visitors are invited to discover the many “natural” flavors of nature as they play along and travel through the seasons in the indoor exhibit. Players of all ages (that includes adults, too) will draw a card, move from space to space, and explore nature throughout the year. And when the actual playing of this epic Candy Land adventure gets to be too much, there are always refreshments waiting back at the exhibit’s Snowshoe Lodge.

Wild Days of Winter naturalist Wendy Pittenger explains to Babble:

“You’re actually going through the seasons, and you become the game pieces. It’s reinterpreting a classic childhood game but, because this is a nature center, we want to bring nature into it. But the best part is that, instead of just walking around looking at stuff, you become part of it.”

Candy Land, a 1940s game invented by polio survivor Eleanor Abbott to entertain other children with the illness, is the perfect inspiration for this kind of Winter Wonderland come-to-life. Candy Land remained popular throughout the 1940s, hitting its peak again in the 1980s when new characters were introduced and the game board was updated. The ’80s and ’90s were considered the Candy Land “golden age,” when a VCR game and a computer game were released. After more than 50 years of popularity, Candy Land was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in 2005.

It’s safe to say that almost any grown-up gets a little thrill when they see this classic board game cover. And taking this childhood favorite and bringing it to life (with an educational theme) isn’t just adorable, it’s giving parents yet another creative way to pass on their traditions to their children.

If you’re within traveling distance of this Candy Land nature exhibit, don’t miss out on what is sure to be a one-of-a-kind adventure.¬†As for the rest of us, we’ll just have to settle for the classic board game, which isn’t such a bad trade-off really.

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